Thursday, August 30, 2012

Post Storm

I started preparing for Isaac fairly early. I've learned with these storms to prepare for the worse, and I ended up bringing everything that could move into the shed, and all the rabbits were brought inside.

It looked so creepy not having any rabbits in their cages, and everything really bare. Over all, not a lot of rain. I was surprised. The wind was crazy, and there were a few tornado warnings (my main fear with tropical storms and hurricanes). We were lucky with this one, and it was completely mild compare to the straight week of rain we had when Debbie hit at the end of June. Hopefully no more storms! We still have until the end of November to worry about, that's when the season ends.

My main worry was for New Orleans. The storm was moving at a whopping 6mph yesterday, wind speeds peaked at 80 mph (85 is a category 2), the levees held up but were not enough. The storm surges toppled over them, and they got more rain from Isaac than they did Katrina. On top of all that, yesterday was the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Good luck to those who are in the path still. Hurricanes are no joke.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

wordy post | dealing with the lasting effects of heat stroke.

It's no secret that the heat is horrific for rabbits. Many breeders have taken extreme measures to prevent the loss of rabbits, and others have experienced huge losses in their herd this summer. I've heard so many horror stories from fellow breeders about their losses due to the heat, and the realization doesn't really hit home until it happens to you.

Overall, I am having a great summer, rabbit wise. The rabbits inside the patio are going about their business like normal, most don't even seem bothered by the heat. The ones that are outside are getting the brunt of it, with the lack of fan, and the tarp is like a sauna. I like to keep a water bottle in their cages, and they just attack it with licks and paws, digging and scratching at it.

There was one exception to the rule, and that would be Toulouse. There are always people or animals that can't handle the heat as well as other people. I don't know why, but there is something that their bodies just can't stand. Toulouse was one of those. I would always try my hardest to keep a water bottle in his cage, a frozen water bowl, and just to monitor him daily.

Over the weekend we had a particularly cool day, and then the next day was also pretty cool. Much cooler than it's been. So, I figure "he'll be fine, it's nicer outside than any other day". Well, I was wrong. I walked out there about 6 or 7 to feed, and I went to his cage first. It was incredibly obvious that he was having a stroke. I quickly brought him inside, took the appropriate measures to cool his off, and regulate his temp. While I was doing this, I noticed "twitching". I pushed that to the back of my mind, and sat there for an hour trying to get everything back to normal.

After that hour passed, I placed him in a single carrier, and noticed he was still twitching. It's almost like a seizure, but not quite. His movement was stiff, and he was having trouble staying still, so he cornered himself, head first.

When we hear of heat stroke, most know what it is, and even the basics at fixing it (a vet isn't really necessary, despite what you read). What we all forget, and I didn't even think of, is the lasting effects that a stroke causes, such as organ and brain damages. This is with anyone; people, rabbits, dogs, etc. My husband did some googling, and we realized that Toulouse had developed Ataxia.

"neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements, as in walking. Ataxia is a non-specific clinical manifestation implying dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, such as the cerebellum." - Wikipedia

Toulouse had this from the moment I brought him inside. We hay have fixed the stroke, but the damage was done. With any neurological damage, it can't be reversed. In humans physical therapy, and medication can help control or suppress the symptoms. Methods unheard of with rabbits. Plainly put, he would never live a normal life, he would never heal from this. We had to put him down.

I'm not writing this to scare those who read it, I'm just trying to tell my story, and my first experience with heat stroke. All it took was one day of careless ness for this to happen. Do I feel bad? Of course! I also know that if it wasn't today, it could have been any other day in the summer. Could have been tomorrow, next year, next month, any day that I would have been gone all day, this could have happened. This rabbit wasn't built for the heat, and if I realized the signs sooner, I could have made him a permanent resident inside the house, but I didn't.

This is the first time that was able to assess the situation, and make the decision on what to deal with him. It was hard, and it's never going to get easier. It's not supposed to be easy to do, but with what I was given, the end result was for the best.

How I suggest dealing with heat stroke:

1. Bring the rabbit inside
2. Wrap a wet towel (I use a cold towel) around the ears
3. A fan blowing around (not directly on) the rabbit
4. Place the rabbit on a cold (wet is fine) towel
5. Patience - It takes time, as long as the rabbit remains alert, you may have gotten there in time
6. Provide electrolytes and room temp. water. Syringe or in a bowl, whatever they'll take
7. DON'T go to the vet. They can't do much more than what is listed above. Maybe an IV fluid. You're going to be slapped with an outrageous bill for something you can do at home. If you feel you must go to the vet, by all means do. Personally, I will do what I can at home.
8. Remember it is NOT your fault. Coulda shoulda woulda, no matter how you slice it, in any situation,  there will always be something you could have done better. Just because you didn't do those extra things, does not meant you need to feel guilty. Just take it as a learning experience to try and prevent this from happening again.

FP's Toulouse

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Just claiming my blog on Bloglovin', don't mind me!

To make it worth your while, here's a picture of Baby Gandalf!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The many sleeping positions of Baby Gandalf

So I have this Blue Tort kit. He's a singleton, fat, and loves to sleep. The following is a collection of SOME of his many off sleeping positions.

Hope you enjoy =)

Just a little note: yes the wire is broken. That is where smart one above got his head stuck at a week old. I had to cut the wire to free the little scoundrel. They don't move the bowl, so I haven't worried about rushing to fix the hole yet. No worries, they are safe, I keep a watchful eye on it =)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tip from the Wooly people!

I was browsing the NJWRC Facebook page yesterday and I came across a post talking about freezing water in a bowl. I decided, why not? So I took a bowl, filled it up, and stuck it in the fridge. Morning comes along, and I give it to a rabbit that I figured was smart enough to utilize this. Well, he did!

Toulouse is the rabbit that can't handle the heat as well as everyone else. I'm out there A LOT trying to make sure he's comfortable, and switching out water bottles and tiles. He got the bowl, and decided to use it as his main water source and drank about a third of it each time I switched them out. The second time, I even tossed 4 ice cubes in there, and he still drank a third of the water.

It is a great method for keeping the little guys cool, and I will probably use all of my bowls up if I see anyone else extremely uncomfortable by the heat. Right now, he is the only one.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chill Out!

During the summer months, it's often interesting to see how various rabbitries keep cool. There are a lot of different methods. I made a blog post a few days ago about the methods I suggest. Here are some pictures of the buns cooling off in the rabbitry.

Tea Cup relaxing next to her nestbox

Toulouse cooling off on top of a chilled tile and a frozen water bottle.

Our new fan. Putting a frozen bottle should, in theory, help blow cool air. I have yet to see a difference
Deuce with a freshly cleaned cage.

Gemma is the nosiest rabbit

Toulouse, enemy of heat, loves it when I put a cold towel on him. I get it wet, ring some of the water out, stick if in the freezer for a few minutes, and it's a cool blanket!

Hope your bunnies are fairing the heat well!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Tips

Let's face it, summer is not a good time for rabbits. Heat stroke becomes common, bucks become sterile, and some rabbits go uncared for. There's not much we can do, but what we can do makes a world of a difference.

Temperatures of anything above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can be dagerous to rabbits. I have compiled a list of different ways to keep your rabbit cool during the summer.

  1. Frozen Water Bottles:  Many rabbit owners prefer this method. It's easy and affordable. All you need are old plastic bottles that would have normally been recycled. Clean them out nice and good, fill them up with tap water and stick them in the freezer. I have 2 bottles per outside rabbit. One for the morning and one for at night if necessary. We use a variation of Poweraide, water, and soda bottles. They are all marked for each rabbit. Make sure the label is torn off or they will do it for you. This is a good alternative because they often play with it, lick it, bite it, and lay next to it. If they chew a hole in it, it's easy to replace!
  2. Fans: These are a good way to keep your rabbits cool. My dad went to walmart when the cheap personal fans were on sale and bought them for $1 each. They are hooked individually to each of the rabbits cages and plugged into a power strip. They are easily removable and controlled by a timer. The blades have to be cleaned every month or so because the hair gets caught in there.
  3. Air Conditioned Barn: I have only seen a small handful of these around. They are the ideal solution but not the most cost efficient. It keeps them cool to your preferences. If kept properly it offers a cool and clean environment for your rabbits to live in and reduces the risk of heat stroke and sterility.
  4. Shaving Long Hared Rabbits: I have yet to do this but I hear it helps those long hared rabbits out there. Be careful. Rabbits skin is extremely tender and cuts easily.

Here are a list of things to remember and to look out for during the hot summer days:
  • Always have fresh water available at all times. If a rabbits drink more then a bottle/bowl a day put another up just in case.
  • If your rabbits use a bowl keep it out of the sun. The sun causes it to evaporate quicker.
  • Watch for ANY kinds of heat stroke. 
  • Keep your rabbit out of the sun. Always have a shady place for your rabbits to cool off.
  • Look out for heavy panting and foaming of the mouth. If you see your rabbit doing this bring him/her inside.
  • Rabbits for Dummies suggests putting a cool, wet towel around the ears cool down the blood in the ears.
  • If you feel it is necessary, bring your rabbit to the local vet. Don't hesitate, your rabbits life is extremely important.
  • It may also be a good idea to keep a thermometer outside so you can monitor the temperature.